Selected departures from May to November 2019 & April to November 2020
Rome was, is, and probably always will be, one of the world’s most compelling cities with probably more to see here than in any other capital on earth. Boasting an uninterrupted recorded history for upwards of 2,500 years, nowhere else seems to have managed to combine, and with such finesse, a heritage of classical antiquities, and medieval buildings from Renaissance palaces to intricate Baroque piazzas. From the grandeur of the Colosseum, scene of some of the most cruel acts ever committed, the Appian Way where Spartacus was crucified, the magnificence of St. Peter’s, the grandeur of the Vatican, the sheer brilliance of the Sistine Chapel, to the Trevi Fountain and flamboyant Baroque buildings – the list is endless. But Rome is much more than monuments, incredible though they are!
Italy also boasts one of the world’s greatest cuisines. Far from being pizza and pasta, one of the first things that really strikes you about visiting a restaurant here, is how deeply embedded in the culture food and drink really is. Fresh vegetables and salads abound, with succulent meats, seafood, a hint of garlic, the finest olive oil, combined with wonderful wines, creating simple, tasty, wholesome and healthy menus. The best way to explore this wonderful city is to wander where your feet take you, through its beautiful piazzas lined with layers of history, where the smell of fresh coffee drifts from the numerous cafés. Admire its monuments, meet its people, sample its food and let your mind be carried away into the magnificent past of what has always been, and always will be, one of the world’s most truly beautiful and historic cities.
You should arrive at the airport to take your flight to Rome. On arrival a coach will take you to your hotel, the four-star Hotel President situated right in the heart of the Eternal City within walking distance of the main Termini station, providing superb transport links via metro and bus to all areas of the city and the main sights - including direct connections to the Colosseum, the Vatican and the Spanish Steps just a few stops away.
The hotel offers stylish, modern accommodation, spacious reception areas, comfortable seating, breakfast room serving a full continental buffet breakfast, restaurant and bar where you can meet your fellow travellers for a relaxing well-earned drink after a day of sightseeing. All rooms are tastefully decorated in a modern style and have private facilities, air conditioning, mini-bar and satellite TV.
After breakfast, we get to know this fabulous city in earnest, taking a sightseeing tour. The monuments are legendary: there is the Trevi fountain, a huge gush of water, streaming from a natural spring over immense rocks, built onto the side of a Renaissance palace. Legend has it you must toss a coin into it, thus ensuring you make a return visit to this most beguiling of cities.
Then there is the Piazza Navona, Rome’s most famous square, as picturesque as any in Italy, lined by cafés and restaurants. You must stroll down the instantly recognisable, 18th century Spanish Steps; in the past, the haunt of artists’ models and now simply the place to be seen. At the bottom is the Piazza di Spagna, home to the poet Keats and visited by Milton, Byron and Shelley – all drawing inspiration from the uniqueness which is Rome. The afternoon is free for you to explore as you wish but whilst you are in Rome, you must visit one of the highlights, the Vatican, the independent state and of course home to the Pope and the largest church in the world, St Peter’s.
Inside, the Sistine Chapel is one of Art’s greatest masterpieces and the largest painting ever created by one man, the genius Michelangelo! This is quite simply the largest, richest and most compelling such museum complex on earth, containing so many artefacts from the city’s history. Many of the finest artists of the Renaissance worked for a variety of Popes but there are other displays too: Egyptian antiquities, furniture, sculpture and silverware.
Holding sway over much of the ancient world for 500 years, Rome was the greatest empire of its time. Legend has it that the city was founded by Romulus and Remus on seven hills. After subduing the neighbouring tribes and the Carthaginians by the second century BC, it became the dominant power in the Mediterranean. Ruled firstly by a series of consuls, then subsequently probably the most famous Roman of all, Julius Caesar, followed by a series of Emperors, each wanted their place in history. Between them they created a unique legacy, the remains of which we see today: the forum, the house of the Vestal Virgins, temples to all the gods, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and even ‘foreign’ ones too like Isis and Diana. Then there are the law courts and the Podium where news of military conquests was announced to an eager public. Then on the nearby Palatine Hill are the remains of the opulent villas of the elite, including the Emperor. Next to this are the immense Caracalla Baths, a veritable Roman leisure centre, plus two of the most famous centres of ‘entertainment’ the world has ever known: the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum. Ancient Rome was a truly remarkable place!
This morning we see all of this and more on our fascinating guided tour, with the remainder of the day free for you to explore at your leisure.
This morning we visit the Villa Borghese, a truly remarkable collection of museums set in a tranquil series of gardens which form the city’s largest park. Most famously it houses one of the world’s greatest collections of fine art including outstanding works by Raphael, with another pavilion housing the national modern art museum.
The outstanding Villa Giulia is home to the world’s most outstanding collection of Etruscan and ancient Roman artefacts. Its other ceramic and glass items, in almost perfect condition, are displayed next to stunning gold jewellery studded with precious stones, crafted in the most skilful manner. Then there are everyday items too: agricultural implements and cooking utensils, coins, brooches, remains of clothing, leather-wear – even portable wash stands. In fact many are remarkably similar to household items used today. This is a wonderful museum where you can truly lose yourself, but above all it is a poignant reminder that no matter how grand a civilisation is and however sophisticated a race believe themselves to be, in reality we are all very similar and throughout history we have all wanted the same things.
So this afternoon what is it to be? Take a coffee in the famous Caffe Greco, window shop along the Via Condotti for some of the finest clothes you will find anywhere. Perhaps most satisfying though, is simply to let yourself be captivated and enchanted by this truly entrancing city.
Today the coach will take you to Rome airport, at the appropriate time, to take your return flight home, after a really memorable tour.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes return flights, four nights’ accommodation with breakfast, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, entrances to the Villa Borghese, the Colosseum and the Forum and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
Savour the flavours of Rome - from £82 per person
Enjoy more than 10 tastings on our four-hour walking tour of the vibrant Trastevere area. You’ll sample the finest cheeses, freshest pasta, wines in a cellar older than the Colosseum, and much more. 2019 and 2020 departures.
Tour the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with an expert - from £43 per person
Skip the main entrance queues and discover some of the world’s greatest art collections on a reserved tour with an authorised guide. Marvel at the frescoed chambers painted by Raphael and the beautiful Sistine Chapel featuring astonishing masterpieces by Michelangelo. 2019 and 2020 departures.
Early entrance to the Vatican & guided tour - from £73 per person
Enjoy exclusive early morning access to the Vatican before the crowds arrive, while the museums are still quiet. Discover some of the world’s greatest art collections on a reserved tour with an authorised guide with entrance before the museum opens to the general public, and enjoy a more relaxed, stress-free experience without the crowds thanks to this exclusive early visit. Marvel at the frescoed chambers painted by Raphael and the beautiful Sistine Chapel featuring astonishing masterpieces by Michelangelo. 2020 departures only.
Breakfast at the Vatican & guided tour - from £94 per person
Indulge in a more exclusive visit to the Vatican. Enjoy a rich American buffet breakfast in the museum’s restaurant area or in the beautiful Pigna courtyard, and discover the countless works of art at your own pace thanks to the special early morning entrance before the museums and Sistine Chapel open to the general public. This truly unique experience includes a tour with an authorised guide to discover some of the world’s greatest art collections, allowing you to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience without the crowds – a simply irresistible morning at the Vatican. 2020 departures only.
Please contact us to add any of the above experiences to your booking.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
The use of air-conditioning in hotels in Italy is at the hotel’s discretion and is normally restricted to the summer months (mid-May to mid-September), depending on the temperature.
Another wonderful trip with Riviera. Reliving a trip made with my school in 1963 it outstripped my memories. My fellow travellers were a great group of people making the trip a great experience. Our Tour Manager Valerie/Valeria wa...
We were met at the airport by Michelle and straight away you felt comfortable with her. She has a lovely way about her, very calm and nothing too much trouble. Well organised trips and very informative guides. My first time on an ...